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Large Haitian Community in Brooklyn Stays Tuned to Haitian Radio

Radio Soleil broadcasts to the large Haitian community in Brooklyn seven days a week

The largest Haitian community outside of Haiti is scrambling to get news of loved ones hit by the devastating earthquake. More than 100,000 Haitians live in New York's Little Haiti in Brooklyn, and there are several Haitian radio stations. As news of the disaster broke, many gathered outside of Radio Soleil D'Haiti.

The streets in Brooklyn's Little Haiti are quiet after many people stayed up most of the night desperately trying to connect with loved ones.

Since the news broke, the Haitian radio station Radio Soleil D'Haiti in the heart of Brooklyn's Little Haiti has been where the worrried come to wait.

Phone calls go unanswered. Don Rochet has been trying to get through to his 80-year-old father for more than 24 hours. "Any number you try and call and they say, 'I'm sorry this mail box is full, and it is all over when you are trying to call, you know - when you try to call it is all over," he said.

Inside the store front radio station, the community listens for any news coming out of Port-au-Prince.

Between calls from the Haitian diaspora here in New York, Radio Soleil D'Haiti broadcasts news live from Port-au-Prince.

Station Director Ricot Dupuys says the news is all bad. "That is enough to erase Haiti from the map and there was a big risk that that could happen," Dupuys explained. "The degree to which Haiti survives is a function of the implication (sic) of the International Community."

In New York Haitians are ready to do what they can for their impoverished and now shattered nation. Dupuys asks all to do what they can. "We need all the support and help we can get. So all too often, we stand very passive to appeals for help. So I am asking everyone who is listening right now, please fight against any tendencies to be passive," he said.

But that is for another day. For many, still no word from relatives in Haiti.

Esperanta Janin is alone in New York. She says, " I need mother, my sister, everyone in my family are in Haiti, just me in New York."

Radio Soleil broadcasts to the large Haitian community in Brooklyn seven days a week. Dupuys says he hopes the station will continue to act as a conduit between Haitians in New York and those on the quake-shattered island.